Using Simulation to Improve Systems-Based Practices

Aimee K. Gardner, Maximilian Johnston, James R. Korndorffer, Imad Haque, John T. Paige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Ensuring the safe, effective management of patients requires efficient processes of care within a smoothly operating system in which highly reliable teams of talented, skilled health care providers are able to use the vast array of high-technology resources and intensive care techniques available. Simulation can play a unique role in exploring and improving the complex perioperative system by proactively identifying latent safety threats and mitigating their damage to ensure that all those who work in this critical health care environment can provide optimal levels of patient care. Methods A panel of five experts from a wide range of institutions was brought together to discuss the added value of simulation-based training for improving systems-based aspects of the perioperative service line. Panelists shared the way in which simulation was demonstrated at their institutions. The themes discussed by each panel member were delineated into four avenues through which simulation-based techniques have been used. Results Simulation-based techniques are being used in (1) testing new clinical workspaces and facilities before they open to identify potential latent conditions; (2) practicing how to identify the deteriorating patient and escalate care in an effective manner; (3) performing prospective root cause analyses to address system weaknesses leading to sentinel events; and (4) evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the electronic health record in the perioperative setting. Conclusion This focused review of simulation-based interventions to test and improve components of the perioperative microsystem, which includes literature that has emerged since the panel's presentation, highlights the broad-based utility of simulation-based technologies in health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-491
Number of pages8
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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